Top Ten Fall Forests

Autumn in Oregon: Willamette National Forest, Oregon

The signature trees of the Cascades are evergreens—red cedars and Doug-firs on the western slopes, ponderosa pines on the drier east slopes. But fall makes its mark on these mountains, and in lovely ways: here and there, pockets of vine maples erupt into a red, and huckleberry shrubs turn red at the same time that they issue their delicious blue fruit.

On the west slopes of the Cascades, within easy reach of Portland or Eugene, Willamette National Forest offers up sweet doses of autumn color, recreation, and of course berry-pickin'. It's almost impossible to stay in the car on your way up toward McKenzie and Santiam Passes—there are so many trailheads, campgrounds, rivers, and even hot springs to check out, you'll want to stop every few miles.

Fall Classics: Oregon Cascades

Into the Woods: What better way to pass a crisp fall day than sauntering along a forested creek as you admire the leafy light show of maples, dogwoods, alders, hemlocks, and cedars? Nestled 1,000 feet up in the Willamette National Forest, some 30 miles southeast of Eugene, The Fall Creek National Recreational Trail follows the stream for 14 miles. Lots of opportunities for side trips, and if you're an angler, pack your fly rod and try to coax some of Fall Creek's colorful rainbow and cutthroat trout onto the end of your line. Backpackers can't go wrong in the Three Sisters Wilderness.

On the Roads: Both the Santiam Rivers Loop and McKenzie-Santiam Pass Road are marvelous scenic drives that bring dozens of recreational opportunities into range.

Where to Camp: Check out Three Creek Meadow near Sisters.


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